Good morning. I’m Randy and I am a sinner.
Today (the first Sunday of Lent) we begin a new series on the “7 Deadly Sins.” The seven deadly sins, a list that began developing as early as the fourth century, are pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice (greed), lust, and gluttony. As you think about this list, which two or three sins are the most pressing in your life?
For those who’d like to go deeper in dealing with the seven deadly sins, I recommend The Workbook on the Seven Deadly Sins (Maxie Dunnam & Kimberly Dunnam Reisman).
Let’s start with the obvious: We are all sinners in need of God’s grace. Dunnam & Reisman write, “Sin is real, and it’s a part of each of us.” Scripture says, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3.23) and “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth” (1 John 1.8).
“Sin is deadly and destructive—destructive of our relationship with God, relationship with those we love, and certainly destructive of the inner harmony and peace that we all long for” (Dunnam & Reisman)
“Pride is the itch for recognition. … Pride is deadly and because it is self-worship” (Dunnam & Reisman) Pride says “It’s all about me!” It is preoccupied with self! Some other words for pride include: vanity, conceit, arrogance, egotism, self-glorification, boastfulness.
There’s a great story about a famous conductor, who after finishing a performance, got in a taxi outside the opera house and shouted to the driver, “Hurry, hurry!” The driver said, “Very good, sir. Where to?” The conductor replied, “It doesn’t matter, they need me everywhere!”
Jesus once told a story about two guys, a Pharisee and a tax collector, who went to the Temple one day to pray. Jesus said, “The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ (Luke 18.10-13)
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16.18)
Dealing with pride …
>> Humility: Humble yourself before God!
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” (Rick Warren)
“They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud.” (John Flavel)
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7.14)
>> Confession: Confess your sins to God!
“If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1.8-10)
>> Abandonment: Give your life to God!
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4.8)
To be “double-minded” is to have a divided heart. Is your heart divided? Or are you serving God with your whole heart?
(Also check out Joleen’s messages on these topics. We are both covering the “7 Deadly Sins,” but our sermons may be very different. Click here to her sermon on Pride.)